Gendered gratitude: the civic subjectivity of israeli women soldiers

Orna Sasson-Levy, Edna Lomsky-Feder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although most Western militaries include women, the military remains a hyper-masculine organization where women’s service is threatened and unstable. Since the military is a citizenship-conferring institution, we ask, what civic subjectivity do women soldiers develop considering their enduring experience of inequality? Based on 141 retrospective accounts by Israeli women soldiers, we argue that women’s civic subjectivity is based on a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to participate in a central state institution. As a moral sentiment, gratitude ties women to the nation in bonds of commitment and belonging, but at the same time ensures their acceptance of and compliance with the gendered military hierarchy. Women’s ‘civic subjectivity of gratitude’ is a byproduct and expression of structural gendered inequality and at the same time reproduces it. Nonetheless, cracks begin to appear in the women’s sense of gratitude when they encounter gendered devaluation, sexual harassment, or military acts of arbitrary violence. In these cases, the women become more critical, and gradually develop what we term ‘suspicious civic subjectivity’, which can sometimes serve as a source and catalyzer for developing and promoting gender equity policies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)245-261
Number of pages17
JournalCitizenship Studies
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Gendered citizenship
  • civic subjectivity of gratitude
  • gendered and moral-political contracts
  • military service
  • suspicious civic subjectivity

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